Don’t let life drain away


As you woke from your overnight slumber, turned on the tap and took a shower the essence which supports life was probably the last thing on your mind.  

History tells us that in selecting the site for the nation’s capital Surveyor-General Scrivener had one thought top of his mind. For an inland city as beautiful of ours the life giving qualities of water underpinned his decision. Scrivener was acutely mindful that for a city to grow, to mature and to prosper over time a reliable source of the most precious commodity on the planet was essential.

Seeded in the clouds, sourced from the heavens, today over 80% of our potable water is supplied from the mighty Cotter Catchment. The founding principles of crystal clear mountain water sustain our city today and into the future.

With urbanisation, residential expansion presents a flow-on effect impacting upon our waterways. An intricate network of stormwater drains transport runoff from our streets to local ponds, wetlands, lakes and beyond into the Murray-Darling system. Stormwater pollution is one of the biggest threats to our rivers, carrying toxic pollutants and nutrients from the built environment into our natural waterways.  

Recently an innovative awareness campaign kicked off. H2OK: Keeping our waterways healthy is a grassroots community call to action.

An underlining principle is a message which resonates; the stormwater drain is just for the rain. It’s all about the little things we can collectively do to take better care of our creeks, rivers and lakes by keeping an eye on what goes down the drain.  

This is a powerful call to action. You can be the solution to the pollution by adopting a drain. By taking a stance in becoming a drain defender you could rally your neighbours to share ideas on how we can protect our downstream waterways.

Everything that goes down the stormwater drain ends up in our lakes and rivers. Grass clippings, fallen leaves, paint and pet poo don’t belong in the drain. Organic material builds up, releasing nutrients polluting our lakes and causing algal blooms.  

With a series of initiatives to empower our community, such as stylised platypus artwork on drains, stormwater ambassadors and demonstration sites, H2OK: Keeping our waterways healthy is a wonderful community based education program.  

Here in the coolest little bush capital in the world we have a chance not to be a tosser and to defend our drains keeping them just for the rain.

To learn more visit

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful Platypus.

Article also appeared in The Chronicle